50 days after the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej who died at age 88, his son formerly Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn took over as the King of Thailand. The new king aged 64, will attempt to follow in the footsteps of his extremely popular father. Who ran the country through some very tough periods for the southeast Asian nation, and also through its rapid rise in development over the years.
“I would like to accept the invitation for the benefit of the Thai people,” the new king said in a televised statement. It has been widely welcomed that the country will continue with a monarchy. Thailand has an uncertain past, with the military taking control in 2014. This was after a long period of uncertainty between those royalists who supported the king being in control, and those who wanted the country to be run by democratically elected politicians. He died on October the 13th.
The new King had been expected to ascend to the throne the very next day after his father’s passing, but he asked for the ceremony to be delayed so that he could mourn his loss in private. Now that he has taken the throne he will need to work hard in order to gain the love and trust that his father enjoyed. Indeed as Crown Prince he spent much of his time abroad, and is relatively unknown to the people. But in recent times he has worked hard on public perceptions, becoming more actively engaged in the political process. He will not have to worry about much public scrutiny though, as the country has infamously tough laws on the royals known as Lese majeste. These laws are meant to protect the most senior royals the laws include article 112 which states that anyone who “defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir-apparent or the regent” will be imprisoned for 15 years.
His coronation will not be expected to happen until next year, after his father has been cremated, indeed his father’s ascension to the crown involved a much longer wait of four years, after his brother King Ananda Mahidol died in mysterious circumstances. It is believed he died as a result of being shot, but no perpetrators were ever brought to justice.
He becomes King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, the 10th monarch of the Chakri dynasty, but will also be known as Rama X. Prayuth Chan-ocha the country’s prime minister, said the new king would become the “heart and soul” of the nation.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.